Background: Cytomegalovirus has been implicated in the development of allograft vasculopathy in heart transplant recipients. Given that allograft vasculopathy is a form of chronic rejection, it is conceivable that cytomegalovirus somehow alters the allogeneic response to the vasculature. Prior work has demonstrated that smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are highly permissive for cytomegalovirus and exhibit cytopathologic characteristics and alterations in MHC class I antigens in response to cytomegalovirus at a high multiplicity of infection (MOI). Methods: To determine whether cytomegalovirus at low, more clinically relevant MOI, can alter SMCs phenotypically, human aortic SMCs were infected with approximately 1 plaque forming units/3000 cells of cytomegalovirus strain AD169. Results: One week after infection, human aortic SMCs (compared with human foreskin fibroblasts) demonstrated no cytopathologic characteristics (n = 6), released reduced amounts of intact virion into the culture media (assessed by exposing naive monolayers of human foreskin fibroblasts to media and staining for cytomegalovirus immediate-early antigen, n = 3), yet had at least, if not greater detectable total cytomegalovirus vital DNA levels. Infected HASMCs uniformly increased their expression of MHC class I antigen by 55% ± 21% above constitutive levels (assessed by flow cytometry (n = 5, p < 0.0001). Cytomegalovirus infection resulted in an increase in interleukin-6 mRNA expression compared to control (297 ± 63 vs 188 ± 50, respectively; p = 0.02, n = 6) and reduced the expression of transforming growth factor-β mRNA (802 ± 152 vs 1201 ± 236, respectively; p = 0.05). Conclusions: These data suggest that low MOI of cytomegalovirus can infect SMCs without producing cell cytolysis and, in spite of this lack of overt infection, modulate cell surface antigens and cytokine mRNA levels that can influence allogeneic responses.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation|
|State||Published - 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine